Re-Imagining Justice for Youth

Our roots are deep in San Francisco as our original site and, for over two decades, our only site. Our programs have evolved in SF and are now being replicated at other sites. After over two decades of advocating for diversion of young people into community-based programs, YWFC partnered with SF Supervisors Matt Haney, Hillary Ronen and Shamann Walton’s to draft and successfully pass legislation to close SF’s Juvenile Hall by December 2021 and divert funding to community-based alternatives. Led by our youth advocates, we are organizing a Re-Imagine Justice initiative to create a community-based vision for prevention of and alternatives to the incarceration of young people. 

Initiatives:

Click here for more details on our programs.

  • Re-Imagine Youth Justice & Closing Juvenile Hall: San Francisco Reimagine Justice is a community organizing campaign to stop the criminalization of black and brown youth in San Francisco that is centered on young women, girls, and gender non-conforming youth and their families. Black and brown youth and their families are impacted by incarceration, the foster care system, homelessness, unemployment, and lack of resources. Black youth are 4 times more likely to be arrested in San Francisco than any other county in California and San Francisco spends $100,000 per year to keep one youth on probation and over $300,000 to keep one youth incarcerated. SF Reimagine Justice is a campaign led by youth and their families most impacted to transform San Francisco and reinvest funding back into the communities and youth most impacted and away from criminalization and incarceration.
  • Sisters & Siblings on the Rise: A personal transformation, leadership development, job training and well-paid internship program.
  • Peer-based Outreach, Advocacy and Crisis Intervention: Peer advocates have been the most successful at finding and engaging the young people in YWFC programming through peer-to-peer referrals, community and street outreach.
  • Freedom Circles: Grounded in self-determination, positive peer relationships and relationships with caring adults, our weekly, two-hour Freedom Circles provide healing and support for young people navigating to stay out of the system. 
  • Self-Determined Life Coaching & Healing: After stabilizing and receiving immediately needed support and services, participants are assigned a life coach to partner in designing a self-determined life plan.
  • Writing for Power: Writing workshops with girls, women and TGNC young people and adults both inside the juvenile and adult justice system. 
  • Lift Us Up, Don’t Lock Us Down: Develops emerging leadership from young people inside (girls, women and TGNC) in juvenile and adult prisons, including court accompaniment, advocacy, systems navigation, release and re-entry planning, personal transformation and healing. 
  • Beyond Survival & Freedom Forward Fellowship: Beyond Survival is a support, leadership and advocacy program for young girls, women and TGNC young people who have been exploited and “in the life” – the street economy. Graduates may apply to participate in the paid leadership fellowship.
  • Young Mothers United: Advocacy and support for pregnant and parenting moms to gain knowledge and support to interrupt the cycle of violence and trauma they have experienced and to heal in order to create healthier habits and routines as a parent.
  • Access to Education: YWFC partners with Five Keys to provide on-site educational support towards securing high school diplomas and GEDs, and  transitioning to community college. We also partner with Dr. Marilyn Jones’ program, Because Black is Still Beautiful to inspire, prepare and support young women in navigating college and seeking higher education and degrees.
  • Participatory Defense: In partnership with DeBug, YWFC organizes young people facing sentencing and their families to organize court support and advocacy to reduce sentencing. 
  • Self-Determined Housing & Re-Entry: Support for people re-entering after being incarcerated, including housing support and referrals, systems navigation, job training and placement and technology and life skills after being denied access while inside. In 2020, YWFC will pilot a re-entry housing project in the San Francisco Bay Area.